Quote of the Day

“These high-end areas were thought to be immune to foreclosures…but we’ve now seen that being wealthy doesn’t preclude you from being stupid with your money.” - Jacob Benaroya, president and managing partner of Biltmore Capital Group, a New York firm that purchases problem loans from mortgage lenders, on the rising tide of foreclosures in the Hamptons.  (Wall St. Journal Blog, June 26th)

Foreclosure Data

Fairfax Will Buy Foreclosed Properties.  Virginia: “Fairfax County approved a landmark housing program yesterday to buy foreclosed properties for middle-income families… County leaders said the program, through which Fairfax will purchase some properties outright and help families buy others through subsidized loans, takes advantage of a unique moment when thousands of homes are entering foreclosure and available for purchase at below-market prices. The program will expand the county's stock of affordable housing and help stabilize areas where clusters of abandoned, unkempt properties in foreclosure threaten the value and vitality of surrounding neighborhoods, county officials said.”  (Washington Post, July 1st)

Resets Peaking on Subprime Loans.  The number of homeowners facing an increase in their subprime adjustable-rate mortgage payments will peak this summer, testing the efforts of lenders and others to keep those people out of foreclosure and stabilize the housing market. The timing reflects the height of subprime lending in the summers of 2005 and 2006, when many borrowers secured loans scheduled to adjust in two or three years. FirstAmerican CoreLogic: It will not be clear for months how many will lose their homes… We may not see the impact in foreclosures until the middle of 2009."  (Washington Post, July 1st)

As Foreclosures Escalate.  “The Senate went ahead with its vacation last Friday without passing a foreclosure prevention measure… The bill is not a cure-all, but is a way to try to break the cycle. It would allow many troubled borrowers to exchange their unaffordable loans for new mortgages guaranteed by the federal government — as long as the lender agreed to reduce the existing loan balance to 85% of the home’s current value. It is questionable whether lenders would be willing to take the loss, and there’s nothing in the law to prod them to do so… Still, the bill’s passage would be an overdue acknowledgment that the foreclosure mess requires government intervention.”  (NY Times Editorial, July 1st) 

Banks Should Bear Some Foreclosure Pain, Frank Says.  Massachusetts: “Rep. Barney Frank, chairman of the House Financial Services Committee: Banks need to shoulder some of the burden in ending the country's foreclosure crisis…. Federal officials say as many as 3 million loans could go into default this year. [Boston] had an 80% increase in foreclosures during the first five months of this year when compared to 2007. There were 190 foreclosure sales for all of 2007; there were 143 through May 31… Lenders loaned money to people who should not have gotten loans [and so] lenders should bear some of the pain that will be necessary to fix the problem, Frank said.”  (South Coast Today, July 1st)

Free Foreclosure Listing Service Increases Traffic 78-Percent.  “USA-Foreclosure.com, a free online service that lists foreclosure properties across the country, has watched its unique visitor traffic increase by 78% since the site's launch in May 2007. USA-Foreclosure.com: Viewers in May spent eight minutes browsing the Web site looking for properties to purchase. Shannon Blood, director of corporate communications for USA-Foreclosure.com: “We predict more than 1,300 Washington properties will go to third-party buyers within the next month and more than 3,000 in the state of California. We are experiencing an all-time high for unique visitors, which truly indicates the state of the market.”  (Default Servicing News, June 30th)

Study Highlights Adams Morgan As Possible Foreclosure Hot Spot. “Department of Insurance, Securities and Banking study: Adams Morgan was singled out as a possible foreclosure hotspot in a 168-page study on subprime mortgage loans in Washington D.C [as] 11% of all loans in the District were subprime… The highest rates of foreclosure were in Wards 5, 7 and 8…More than 15,600 homes were foreclosed in the District from February 2007 to February 2008. There were 366 home foreclosures in the District this year through May. The number already surpasses last year's figures… Officials said in the next two years, 2,000 adjustable-rate loans throughout the District will reset their rates.”  (NBC4, June 30th)

Foreclosures of Distinction.  Washington: “Some pretty posh homes in the Seattle area are facing foreclosure… The most-expensive foreclosure home I could find in King County is a Clyde Hill house whose value Zillow estimates at $3.08 million. The owners are more than $1.7M behind on their payments according to a notice of trustee sale… An auction is scheduled for Oct. 13. Foreclosurepoint shows a handful of other King County foreclosure homes valued at more than $2M.”  (Seattle Times, June 30th)

Jazz Legend's Home Saved From Foreclosure, For Now.  “Jazz vocalist Ernestine Anderson's home has been saved from foreclosure - for now. Thanks, in part, to music legend Quincy Jones and contemporary jazz artist Diane Schuur. More than $43,000 poured in - including donations from Jones and Schuur - after recent news stories about the Seattle jazz legend's financial woes, said Carmen Gayton, a friend of Anderson's family… Gayton said Anderson, 79, needs more money in order to be able to decrease the monthly payments on her principal loan balance of nearly $460,000… A financial manager is working… to restructure Anderson's loan, which has monthly payments of more than $4,400.”  (Seattle Times, June 30th)

Wells Fargo, Tico In Hot Water Over Short Sales.  “Federal prosecutors in Arizona said they reached a $4.3 million civil settlement with Wells Fargo Bank (WFC) and Tico Title Agency of Arizona this month that settles allegations that WFC submitted false claims to the Federal Housing Administration's pre-foreclosure sales program. The program allows homeowners with FHA-backed mortgages to avoid foreclosure [through] short sales. If the sales price is not enough to pay off a loan, lenders submit an insurance claim to the FHA, which pays the lender the balance owing on the loan. The U.S.Attorney for the District of Arizona alleged that Wells submitted more than 70 false claims to the FHA's pre-foreclosure sales program.”  (Inman News, June 30th)

Mass. Foreclosure Deeds Set Another Record In May.  “Warren Group: Foreclosure deeds in Massachusetts broke another record in May. Foreclosure deeds, the final step in the foreclosure process, rose 107.5% in May, from 677 in May 2007 to 1,405 in May 2008… Deeds are also up 5.3% from 1,334 in April 2008. The Warren Group of Boston is a provider of regional real estate data and the publisher of Banker & Tradesman. Petitions to foreclose, the first step in the mortgage process, declined in May, but that's because a new state law that took effect May 1 has extended the time period for the foreclosure process.”  (Boston Globe, June 30th)

The Tragic Toll Of Housing Nightmare.  New York: “In one of the highest concentrations of foreclosures in the city, a three-by-three-block section of South Jamaica, the Daily News found 98 properties in foreclosure from January 2006 through this month… No street is spared. Some families are homeless, others are split in money fights. Plugs have been pulled on utilities. Abandoned houses have attracted rodents.”  (NY Daily News, June 28th)

$19.5 Million Hamptons Mansion In Foreclosure.  “NY Post: In Q1’08, banks launched preliminary foreclosure actions against a record 120 borrowers in the towns of East Hampton and Southampton... Other Hamptons high rollers mentioned in the NY Post include Janice Becker, a regular on the Southampton village social circuit who is facing foreclosure on her multimillion-dollar Wyandanch Lane property and advertising veteran Ransel Potter who is defaulting on a $1.8 million mortgage on an Amagansett parcel.”  (Wall St. Journal Blog, June 26th)


Seeking Alpha's Housing Tracker is a collection of housing-related excerpts from various sources, grouped by topic. Feel free to post any interesting links on the subject in the comments section below.

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